There was a recent brouhaha recently out of New York over the fact that supplements did not contain what the label indicated they should contain.
There was no there there.
This is a
I worry more about what they do contain, since some supplements can have toxic metals, such as
One of 5 Ayurvedic HMPs produced in South Asia and available in Boston South Asian grocery stores contains potentially harmful levels of lead, mercury, and/or arsenic.
The problem is not limited to just supplements. Probiotics are
Organisms were improperly identified in 9/21 (43%) human and 8/23 (35%) veterinary products. Contents of 5/20 (25%) human and 3/17 (18%) veterinary products were misspelled. In only 9 human and 2 veterinary products were the contents adequately identified.
and mentioning organisms
such as “Lactospore sporogenes,” that do not exist.
The organisms can be non-viable (ie dead) and therefore worthless.
Worse, probiotics have been found to probably
But now probiotics have been implicated in the death of a child:
Unopened bottles of ABC Dophilus Powder from the lot received by the infant were cultured by the hospital microbiology laboratory; the samples yielded Rhizopus species, a mold capable of causing mucormycosis. CDC later confirmed these isolates as Rhizopus oryzae.
As the CDC notes
However, dietary supplements such as ABC Dophilus Powder are not regulated as drugs by the FDA. Therefore, these products are not subject to FDA’s premarket review and approval requirements for safety and effectiveness, nor to the rigorous manufacturing and testing standards for drugs. Rather, dietary supplements are regulated by FDA as foods with good manufacturing practice requirements specific to the commodity.
I always mention on rounds when a heroin patient gets an infection that heroin is not sterile and it is not as if the manufacturers are trying to make a sterile product. Saying the heroin is contaminated suggests they were trying to make it bacteria and fungus free.
There are worse things than have empty supplements. When they contain nothing, it is amusing. When they contain poisons and pathogens it can be fatal.
And there is no way to know.